In 2011, Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra teamed up with Taken's Liam Neeson for the mystery thriller Unknown. It was a promising collaboration that had the pair eager to reunite. So when producer Joel Silver presented them a script about a harried air marshal sucked into a mysterious terrorist plot aboard an international flight, it seemed the perfect opportunity.
Together these three made Non-Stop, a high-octane thriller set sky-high and topped off with a serious ticking clock. What would you do if a text message demanded a massive ransom in exchange for the safety of everyone on your flight? This is the terrifying question facing air marshal Bill Marks (Neeson) as he decides who to trust and who is dangerous.
At a pair of press conferences held in New York City recently, Collet-Serra and Silver, Neeson and his Non-Stop co-star Julianne Moore revealed to the assembled crowd some of the secrets of this mystery movie, as well as what makes Neeson such a standout action star.
Old-School Disaster Classics Inspired This Modern ThrillerFor Collet-Serra, a major part of Non-Stop's appeal was how its story trapped together such a disparate group of characters. Silver noted Non-Stop has "a Murder on the Orient Express vibe."
For her part, Moore drew comparisons to Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno, saying, "It’s very reminiscent of those older movies and of the disaster movies I loved as a kid…so it becomes classic entertainment."
Of course, with the advent of cell phones, the way people react in crisis has changed since those movies debuted. Collet-Serra pointed out how older movies seeking out a phone to make contact was often a crucial plot point. "Nowadays, there are phone everywhere and there is Google. So you cannot have that scene anymore, because usually people have access to phones and all that information," he detailed. "So, you always have to use that information against the character…You have to complicate his life through technology." In Non-Stop, cell phone use on the plane causes all kinds of issues for Neeson's air marshal. But to say more would be to reveal spoilers.